Oldest Operating American Black-Owned Business Set to Celebrate Its 140th Year

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E.E. Ward Moving & Storage plans to mark this monumental accomplishment with a book and year of commemorations

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We are incredibly proud and honored to continue the legacy that John T. Ward established when he founded the company after the Civil War. Today we are humbled and honored to be a part of the legacies continuation.

Founded in 1881 with just two horses and a wagon, 2021 marks E.E. Ward Moving & Storage’s 140th year in business. The company is recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the oldest continuously operating black-owned business in the United States. Today, E.E. Ward is 50-75 people strong, and as an agent of North American Van Lines, the company performs both corporate and residential moves across the country out of its offices in Columbus and Charlotte. Having persevered through the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Great Recession, 25 presidents and now a Pandemic, co-owners Brian and Dominique Brooks, say the company’s story is about perseverance, overcoming challenges, a commitment to community and the intention to celebrate E.E. Ward, a black-owned business legacy.

“We are incredibly proud and honored to continue the legacy that John T. Ward established when he founded the company after the Civil War,” said Brian Brooks, the company’s co-owner and president. Brooks and his wife, Dominique, bought the business from Eldon Ward, Brian’s godfather, in 2001. “Today we are humbled and honored to be a part of the legacies continuation,” Brooks continued. “In the moving business, you must be reliable, a company people can count on. We take the trust our clients put in us very seriously and work hard to earn and then keep it each and every day.”

That E.E. Ward Moving & Storage legacy is being captured in a children’s book that the Brooks are authoring and will publish later this year. The company is also launching a line of 140th anniversary commemorative shirts that they will add to their 1881 apparel line. The clothing line is sold at shop1881.com. In addition, the organization has unveiled a specially designed 140th anniversary logo it will use throughout 2021.

“When it comes to the book, our goal is to take this magnificent story and share it with generations to come,” explained Dominique Brooks. “And while we celebrate Black History Month each February, this story is one that should be celebrated all year round.”

Founder John T. Ward served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. He used his horses and wagon to help slaves escape to freedom. Today the company is experiencing growing interest in customers looking to support black-owned businesses. And, despite the Pandemic, E.E. Ward Moving & Storage has continued to operate as an “essential business,” incorporating safety measures to ensure the well-being of both its employees and the people they work with.

“The company has been through a remarkable journey over 140 years and due to hard work and team members dedicated to the customer experience, we remain at the forefront of our industry. Today our organization and people are strong, but the work is not over,” Brooks concluded. “Our efforts today and forward are necessary to position the company for the next 140 years, and that is truly something to celebrate.”

About E.E. Ward
E.E. Ward is a nationally recognized leader in the relocation and transportation industry offering comprehensive services including commercial and household moving, delivery services and logistics. E.E Ward has received numerous awards for its high level of service, including, 2020 International BBB Torch Award Finalist, 2019 CARTUS Commitment to Excellence Gold Award, 2019 Medical Mutual Pillar Award, Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio's 2018 Torch Award for Ethical Enterprises, 2017 AMSA Moving & Storage Agent of the Year, Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council 2017 Minority Business Enterprise Supplier of the Year. E.E. Ward has been recognized as one of the nation’s oldest African American owned businesses. For more information, please visit http://www.eeward.com.

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Liz Lane
Team Fleisher Communications
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